Panthers edge Yellow Jackets in OT
By: Jacquelyn Howell
Coming off a disappointing loss to the Florida State Seminoles, the Pittsburgh Panthers hoped to redeem themselves against conference rival Georgia Tech. After a long hard battle that took the two teams into overtime, the Panthers were able to make key plays and came out victorious 75-72. This is Pittsburgh’s first overtime victory since 2011.
Head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio stated after the game, “I am so proud of our players and how they continued to fight for 45 minutes. We made plays at both ends of the floor down the stretch and each player made contributions.”
Though the first points on the board came from Yellow Jacket Roddreka Rogers 15 seconds in, the Panthers were able to go on a 10-4 run leading into the first official TV timeout. Pitt was able to score a couple points coming from the TC timeout, but an Aysia Bugg foul on Kaela Davis’s successful three-pointer closed the lead to only four points. Another jumper made by Georgia Tech’s Aaliyah Whiteside before the next TV timeout made closed the lead to 14-12 with 11:37 left.
The next stretch of offense would switch the lead to Georgia Tech, as the team went on a 13-1 run forcing Pittsburgh to take a team timeout with 9:52 left in the first half. The Panthers would come back and go on an 8-2 run which would bring the teams to a tie with 7:06 left on the clock. For the rest of the first half, both teams kept up with each other offensively. Ultimately, the Yellow Jackets walked into halftime in the lead by only two points, with the score being 35-33.
The Panthers began the second half by tying the score with a jumper made by Monica Wignot. Georgia Tech’s Kaela Davis responded almost immediately with a jumper. The teams went in this style of offensive scoring until the first TV timeout of the second half with Pittsburgh in the lead 42-41. The next stretch of time would be low scoring for both teams with the Panthers slightly ahead for a 6-5 run. This brought the score to 48-46 with 11:25 left in the game.
Pittsburgh would keep the lead for the majority of the time remaining. With 6:21 left in the game, a layup made by the Yellow Jacket’s Aaliyah Whiteside brought the Panther’s lead to only a point, 53-52. This forced a Pittsburgh timeout. Monica Wignot then sank a three-pointer coming off the timeout.
With less than two minutes to go, the score read 62-60 and Pittsburgh called another timeout. Pittsburgh was able to shut out Georgia Tech, bringing the clock down to 1:03 and forcing two Yellow Jacket timeouts. However, Kaela Davis made a jumper coming off the timeout, tying the score 62-62. Brianna Kiesel responded immediately with a layup to put them back up with 42 seconds left in the game. Though the Panthers tried to prevent the Yellow Jackets from scoring, a foul on Monica Wignot would allow Kaela Davis to nail two free-throw shots with less than 30 seconds left in the game.
These would be the final points scored in the second half, making the score 64-64 at the end of the second half of the game. The game pushed into overtime. With five minutes on the clock, the pressure was on for both teams.
Brianna Kiesel made a three-pointer, putting the first points on the board and handing Pittsburgh an initial lead. However, points from Aaliyah Whiteside, Katarina Vuckovic, and Kaela Davis put the Yellow Jackets into the lead 70-67 with 1:54 left on the clock. Monica Wignot proceeded to hit a three pointer, bringing the teams back to a tie. Kaela Davis would immediately answer back with a made jumper, putting Georgia Tech back in the lead. Another crucial three-pointer was followed by Monica Wignot with 47 seconds on the clock.
This would put Pittsburgh in the lead 73-72. The Panthers would go on to keep the lead for the remainder of the game, shutting out Georgia Tech. Brianna Kiesel would add two more points via free throws to bring the final score to 75-72.
Brianna Kiesel contributed the most points for the Panthers, a total of 23. She also had six rebounds and seven assists. Monica Wignot scored 21 points, the second highest individual point contribution. She also had 10 rebounds along with nine blocks. Yacine Diop led the team in rebounds, totaling 11 while adding 13 points.
For the Yellow Jackets, Kaela Davis scored 31 points and grabbed six rebounds. Roddreka Rogers led the team hauled in 13 rebounds and contributed 14 points. Aaliyah Whiteside also had 14 points and had nine rebounds.
When comparing the two teams, the Panthers had a better shooting percentage, 38% (26-for-68) to the Yellow Jackets’ 33% (24-for-72). Pittsburgh also had a team total of 17 assists and 11 blocks while Georgia Tech lagged behind with five assists and three blocks. Georgia Tech out rebound Pittsburgh, though, with a team total of 48 rebounds.
The Panthers return home on January 22nd to face Syracuse, yet another conference rival. Tip off will begin at 7 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.